A Birmingham pastor has been fined almost £22,000 after being found guilty of 26 breaches of housing regulations in numerous properties for which he was the landlord.
Paul Allen, 48, was ordered to pay a total of £21,895 by Hertford Magistrates’ Court after legal action was taken against him by East Herts Council.
As the Hertfordshire Mercury reports, the conditions in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) under Mr Allen’s management in Hertford and Walkern did not comply with legal regulations.
The pastor was fined £400 per offence – totalling £10,400 – as well as a further £11,480 in court costs. He also had to pay a £15 victim surcharge.
Authorities were initially alerted to the poor state of the properties by the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2009, when an inspection found a lack of fire alarms at the sites.
Sufficient fire safety measures are legally required in Houses of Multiple Occupation in order to safeguard the welfare of tenants, and their absence in this case played a part in Mr Allen’s conviction.
“Paul Allen had been given every opportunity to rectify these matters. He showed a dangerous disregard for the law and the safety of his tenants,” said Councillor Linda Haysey, the executive member for health, housing and community support in Hertford Rural South.
Councillor Richard Thake, cabinet member for community safety from Knebworth and Codicote, added: “Landlords should be aware that we routinely check Houses of Multiple Occupation. Most fires start at night and if you are asleep and don’t have a working smoke alarm to wake you up, your chances of escaping unharmed are low.”
Mr Allen explained that he does not plan to appeal, although he is hoping to speak to the council to discuss the future of the properties under his control following the conclusion of the court case.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment must be carried out on all communal areas in residential flats in England and Wales to reduce or remove the risk of a fire starting.
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